Thursday, June 26, 2014

It can't possibly be his fault, can it?

And then along comes Martin Odemena to make lawyers (or wannabe lawyers) look ridiculous again.

According to this piece on the ABA Journal's website, Mr. Odemena is a former law student who was still a bit upset over the D he received in his contracts class. He was so upset, in fact, that he filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts School of Law alleging that the school's decision cost him over $100,000.

It seems that Mr. Odemena decided to blow off days in which his contracts professor, Joseph Devlin, gave quizzes in class. Mr. Odemena understood, incorrectly so, that those quizzes wouldn't count toward his final grade. The result was a D in contracts class.

The grade led to Mr. Odemena's suspension from school which, according to his lawsuit, made it impossible for him to transfer to another school. And, just like that, another promising career in the legal field went up in smoke.

Okay. I get it. Mr. Odemena really, really wanted to be a lawyer. He flamed out in law school. He was upset because he wouldn't get that fancy BMW he had his eyes set on. He wouldn't be able to impress the ladies with his tales of carrying briefcases and doing meaningless work for a big law firm. Surely it wasn't his fault his dream had gone poof.

On the other hand, he avoided carrying a whole lot of debt around with him after he got his ticket to ride. He didn't get sucked down into the drudgery that BigLaw has become now that the bean counters are tracking the rate of profit from every task. He didn't have to live with the anxiety that he would be cut loose when he failed to make the partner track in a few years.

Let's face it, law school is a mechanism for weeding out those folks who think they want to be lawyers. Mr. Odemena was looking for the easy way out. If the quizzes didn't count he could take it easy during the term and then get down to business toward the end of the semester when it counted. What does that tell you about how he would do his job once he got to put Esquire after his name?

And if he didn't get to be a lawyer afterward? So freaking what. None of us are given a guarantee of what we're going to do after school. That's not how life works. The bar down the street is full of folks who didn't get the job they yearned for. You can either get over it or you can let it drag you down the street of self-pity and self-absorption.

Mr. Odemena didn't get to be a lawyer. The legal world won't miss him. There are already too many of us anyway. Instead of pouring more and more new lawyers out on the streets year after year, law schools need to do a better job of weeding out the folks who don't need to be lawyers.

And that's exactly what the Massachusetts School of Law did.

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